April 8, 2008

Essanay Studios, Early Chicago Filmmaking

From the Chicago Tribune:

Plenty of movies have been made about Chicago. Plenty of movies have been shot on Chicago's streets. But the city itself has never been a center of international studio filmmaking, except for one brief golden age that lasted only a decade. That single 10-year span commenced in the summer of 1907, when Essanay Studios was formed to enter the new business of making movies. During those years, Chicago had a studio that was the Disney or Warner Brothers of its day.

Essanay boasted among its contract players the world's number one box-office star (Charlie Chaplin), a great matinee idol (Francis X. Bushman), a glamor queen (Gloria Swanson), and the dean of cowboy stars (studio co-founder Gilbert "Bronco Billy" Anderson). The studio was located in the 1300 block of West Argyle Street in the city's Uptown neighborhood...

Continue reading here.

Thanks to Dave S. for the head's up on this story.

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